Barry’s Blog # 415: Who is an American? A Timeline, Part Seven of Eight

Part Seven: 2000-2010

…the ultimate measure of health in any community might well reside in our ability to stand in awe at what folks have to carry rather than in judgment at how they carry it. — Father Gregory Boyle

2000-2010: Since officers have qualified immunity and police unions protect perpetrators,  New York City will pay $964 million to resolve excessive force and brutality claims, including seven times for one officer. The country will lose a third of its manufacturing jobs during the decade.

2000: The Osage Nation sues the Department of the Interior for fraudulent management of their assets, settling in 2011 for $380 million. Alabama is the last state to repeal its anti-miscegenation law. The census allows respondents to list themselves in one or more of fifteen racial/ethnic identities. California, followed by twelve other states, requires insurance companies to report on their roles in slavery. The South posts its first black population increase in over a century. Joseph Lieberman is the first Jew to be nominated for Vice-president. Almost two million ballots are disqualified because of faulty vote-counting machines. The Supreme Court throws the election to George W. Bush.

Congress requires the states to report all deaths in prisons or police custody. But it provides no funding or enforcement mechanism, so the Bureau of Justice Statistics must rely on 18,000 local agencies to provide the data voluntarily. Many states will collect data in a haphazard fashion, with little verification. Only 36 states will report data every year. By 2014, BJS will be recording data for fewer than half of arrest-related deaths nationwide. Congress will try to strengthen the law in 2016, but the Trumpus administration will sabotage the effort, allowing only 20% of jails to report any deaths at all in a given year. One that does, Hampton Roads Regional Jail in Virginia, will report 68 deaths between 2003 and 2018, sparking a federal investigation that finds “The jail’s practice of subjecting prisoners with serious mental illness to prolonged periods of restrictive housing…shows deliberate indifference to their health and safety.”

2001: Whites murder nineteen Sikhs, Muslims, Arabs and South Asians in response to the 9/11 attacks. The DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act, which would grant residency status to qualifying foreign immigrants who had entered the U.S. as minors, is first introduced. Congress will debate it for the next 16 years, until Trumpus rescinds it. The No Child Left Behind Act prioritizes student testing over racial integration and requires military recruiters be granted the same access in schools as college recruiters.

2001-2002: The FBI entraps large numbers of impressionable young men of color and then prosecutes them as terrorists.

2002: Congress creates the Department of Homeland Security, which by 2017 will have 240,000 employees, a $40 billion budget and persistent allegations of waste, brutality and fraud. Drafted partially in reaction to the controversy surrounding the 2000 election, the Help America Vote Act mandates that the Election Assistance Commission improve and certify voting equipment. 

2003: Congress creates the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), which will eventually have 20,000 employees and a $7.6 billion budget. It will detain about 34,000 people on any given day, in over 500 detention centers and jails nationwide, and deport two million people.

The American school system is nearly as segregated as it was in 1960. Eighty percent of Latino students and three-quarters of black students attend schools that are majority nonwhite. A sixth of all black students attend schools in which minorities make up 99% of the population. The percentage of black students attending majority white schools is at its lowest point in fifty years. Minority high schoolers are performing at academic levels equal to or below those of three decades ago.  Police use racial profiling to stop Black and Latino drivers on the basis of less evidence than used in stopping white drivers, who are searched less often even though they are more likely to be found with illegal items. The resultant fines, arrests, legal fees and time spent in court mean that people of color have even less disposable income relative to whites. In New York City alone, the stop-and-frisk program will make over 100,000 stops per year between 2003 and 2013. Ninety percent of those frisked will be Black or Latino.

The Supreme Court rules that a Law School can consider race as a plus-factor when evaluating applicants and maintains the prohibition on the use of quotas. Fourteen states still retain their sodomy laws. Conviction in Idaho can result in life imprisonment until the Supreme Court strikes down all such laws.

2004: The National Museum of the American Indian opens on the National Mall. Bush allows the ban on assault weapons to expire; mass shooting deaths will increase by 239%.

2005: DHS’s bogus national database of “critical terrorist targets” grows to 300,000 localities, including thousands of non-critical sites such as doughnut shops and petting zoos. Indiana will have more than California and New York combined. Surveys find that 35% of foreign-born Hispanics and 36% of Blacks hold strong antisemitic beliefs. North Carolina apologizes for its mass sterilization program; several states follow suit. Congress gives gun manufacturers immunity from legal liability.  Operation Streamline  initiates a “zero-tolerance” approach to unauthorized border-crossing by engaging in criminal prosecution of immigrants. Up to 70 people are tried together, sometimes wearing shackles in the courtroom. The number of prosecutions will increase from 4,000 annually in the early 2000s to 16,000 in 2005, 44,000 in 2010 and 97,000 by 2013. The Minuteman Project, a borderlands militia, claims 1,000 members. The Real ID Act waives local laws that interfere with construction of physical barriers at the borders. Fred Korematsu dies.

2006: California apologizes for deporting Mexicans between 1925 and1931. The Secure Fence Act authorizes additional fencing, vehicle barriers, checkpoints, lighting, cameras, satellites and drones. Conservatives claim that undocumented immigrant mothers are having children in the U.S. (“anchor babies”) only to gain citizenship. Three months after Hurricane Katrina, 20% of whites deny that the government’s failure to respond had anything to do with race. Ninety percent of Blacks disagree.

2006-2017: The nation’s largest police departments will fire 1,900 officers for misconduct. But on appeal, they will be forced to reinstate over 450.

2006-2020: Over 1,200 women are arrested for self-induced abortions and other claims of fetal harm.

2007: Over 9,500 children are still attending Indian boarding schools. High School students in Ashburn, Georgia attend their school’s first racially integrated prom, while their parents protest. The Supreme Court prohibits the use of racial classifications in student assignment plans to maintain racial balance. Four states officially apologize for slavery and Jim Crow, followed in the next nine years by five others.

2008: Congress estimates that Homeland Security has wasted roughly $15 billion.   Barack Obama wins the presidency even though most white voters do not vote for him. Pennsylvania convicts two judges are for sending children to for-profit jails in exchange for kickbacks. The recession increases racial disparities when long-term patterns of discrimination and fraud provoke the subprime mortgage crisis. While 6.2 % of qualified whites had received high-risk mortgages, 21% of blacks had. Wells Fargo had motivated loan officers to aggressively market in minority neighborhoods. Women of color were the most likely to receive subprime loans. Banks will foreclose on 240,000 black homeowners. In Washington they are 20% more likely to lose their homes than whites with similar incomes. The net worth of black households will decline by 53%, compared to 16% for white households. Twenty percent of whites say their ideal neighborhood is all white, 25% say it has no blacks, 33% say it has neither Hispanics nor Asians and only 25% say they would live in a neighborhood where half of their neighbors are black. A California State University fires a Quaker for refusing to sign a loyalty oath without inserting a reservation that her defense of the state and country would be done “nonviolently.”

2009: The KKK burns a cross in a black Alabama neighborhood. A Louisiana official denies a marriage license for an interracial couple. Obama refuses to revive the Fairness Doctrine. A local insurance risk pool warns the 60-officer Maywood, California Police Department that it will lose its coverage if it does not enact a dozen changes focused on reducing violent encounters with the public. When police fail to do so, the risk pool pulls its coverage, and the department disbands.

2009-2016: Obama will deport 2.5 million immigrants, 40% with no criminal conviction. Following police murders of unarmed black men, blacks and whites protest together in Oakland, Anaheim, Ferguson, Charlotte, Baltimore and Milwaukee.

2010: In the Citizens United decision, the Supreme Court allows corporations and unions (with far fewer assets) to spend unlimited money on political ads, finding that funds not being spent in coordination with a candidate’s campaign “do not give rise to the appearance of corruption.” States introduce 1,400 immigration measures – exceeding the total of the previous ten years – and 246 become law. The United Nations determines that the Doctrine of Discovery is the foundation of the violation of indigenous human rights. An “End Racial Profiling Act” is defeated in Congress. Arizona bans Ethnic Studies programs from schools. Nearly 60% of African Americans are living in the South – the highest percentage in 50 years.

Read Part Eight here.

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